Comparison: Japanese Knife vs. German Knife

The market floods with so many knife types, but the Japanese and German knives are prevalent most. Their designs, features, and performance are above the rest. When shopping for the best cutter, you would probably want to end up with the best.

It is the reason you will grasp some detailed information about the two knife types in this article. The aim is to nourish you with the knowledge to help you pick a knife to meet your needs and pocket. Because both the Japanese and German knife types are excellent, choosing between them can be daunting.

Every knife has its specific use. After intense research, we shall offer insight into the differences between the Japanese and German knives. Let’s start by defining the right blade.

What is the Right Japanese or German Knife?

german knife vs japanese knife

The right knife is the ideal one to carry your specific task. Without the right blade, you can hardly achieve what you aim to accomplish. It is a valuable kitchen tool that will offer the following;

  • Maintain the food’s texture after cutting. The knife doesn’t bruise, squish, or damage the foodstuffs you’re slicing or chopping. As a result, the taste remains intact.
  • It cuts the foodstuff equally. Smaller pieces cook faster than the rest. If you use a knife slicing unequal pieces, you will end up with a dish mixed with overcooked and undercooked foodstuffs. It is not the kind of meal you would enjoy.
  • The knife performs excellently and safely. The right blade does not pose a danger to you while using it or in storage.

With the above characteristics of the right knife, you may wonder whether both Japanese and German knives qualify. Indeed, both are the right tools to have in your kitchen, but they have their differences. Your preference, budget, and purpose may prompt you to pick one over the other.

For your better understanding, the following is each of the knife type’s advantages and disadvantages. They depend on the following aspects;

The Differences between the Japanese and the German Knives

Japanese knife

1. Purpose

Both knives come designed for various uses. If you want a knife to offer fine and delicate slicing, the Japanese knife will work out great. German knives come heavier and thicker, explaining why they suit all your kitchen uses. Most chefs refer to them as their kitchen workhorses.

With their fat profile and rounded belly, German knives carry out their all-purpose role excellently. They tackle any challenging task with ease, making them ideal to use on bones and joints. The Japanese knives are the opposite. They are perfect for chopping and precise cutting jobs.

The Japanese knives consist of thinner blades, making you pay more attention when using them.

2. Style

The structure and design of both knives differ. A German knife usually has a full tang, meaning that its blade runs from the tip to the handle. Artisans use thick steel to create the knife’s bolster, which is the part before the handle. As a result, the blade acquires extra strength to chop tough vegetables than other knife types.

Unfortunately, the Japanese knives do not have bolsters. Their tangs vary from one knife maker to another. As a result, the knives come light and easy to use for various tasks.

3. Blade

German knives’ blade angles are usually wide, starting from 17.5 degrees. But those of the Japanese knives are generally smaller, with blade angles beginning from 10 to 15 degrees on either side. Kindly note that its blade angle usually determines a knife’s sharpness.

The smaller your knife’s blade angle is, the sharper it becomes. Such a knife consists of a narrow cutting path that allows for clean cuts. The knife does not damage foodstuff when cutting it, maintaining its texture.

That is why chefs go for Japanese knives when looking for high-level precision slices and cuts. On the other hand, German knives are robust and more vigorous, making them ideal for demanding cuts.

4. Material

The primary material used in making both knife types is steel. Artisans use it to make the blades. But steel comes with various properties. What matters is the kind of steel used. Some are harder, flexible, durable, and produce the best sharpness.

Steel comes from a mixture of carbon and iron. The more carbon there is, the more durable and more rigid the steel becomes. Japanese knives get crafted with steel containing more carbon than the one used in making the Japanese knives.

But hard steel doesn’t hold an edge for long. That’s why western-style knives are always sharp compared to Japanese knives. You may have to sharpen your Japanese knife often, which is not a pleasing thing to do, especially if out of time.

5. Sturdiness

Japanese knives score higher in robustness than German knives according to the industry’s standard score known as the Rockwell. The blades scores are from 60 to 63, while the German knives achieve 57. Though a score over 58 means that the knife contains a greater hardness on its surface and has sharp edge retention, you will need to put in some effort in caring for it.

Sharp knives break or chips easily when misused or dropped. That’s why Japanese knives require special handling. Also, the sharp blade can easily cut you, subjecting you to total keenness while using or storing it. If you want a knife that can withstand more abuse, a German knife would be the best.

You will also not keep on sharpening and honing a German knife.

6. Symmetry

Are you left-handed? Then a German knife would be ideal for you. It’s hardly easy to find a Japanese knife for chefs who use their left hands unless designed to target the western market. Examples of such Japanese blades ideal for the left-handed are brands such as Miyabi, Global, and Shun.

Unlike the Japanese knives, German knives come with symmetrical blades, meaning that their cutting edge comes angled for a right-hand user. The optimal balance of the German knives enables a leftie to use it, while it’s still ideal for a right-handed person. If you use both of your hands, a German knife will be an excellent choice for you.

With the above information, you may wonder about the right knife for you. Here is an insight to enlighten you.

Between the Japanese and the German Knife, Which is Ideal for You?

Comparison: Japanese Knife vs. German Knife 1

Japanese knives come with slim blades, lightweight, and razor-sharp. They are therefore suitable for precise work. The steel used in their making is also very hard, making the knives retain their sharpness for a long time.

German knives are sturdy all-around knives that handle more robust chores. The knives last longer and come heavy, thanks to the steel used in their making.

By comparing the above properties of both knives, you can now make the right decision on what to pick.


As explained above, both German and Japanese knives are essential in any kitchen. It depends on what you want to use the cutter for or your preference. If you have tasks ideal for both blades, you can use both of them in your kitchen.

Both knife types come in different shapes, designs, sizes, blade types, angles, and steel types. Consider using a Japanese knife for precise cuts, as explained above. German knives would be ideal for challenging tasks like cutting bones.

But it would help if you considered that the German knives are heavy, as illustrated above, making you tire quickly. The Japanese knives chip or crack easily due to their sharp edge and thin blade. You would have to give them extra care.

Based on their purposes, no knife is better than the other. Both types are top-notch quality and perform to their optimal. The knife becomes the right option when you use it for its intended purpose.